Leftover bread can be put to good use. Instead of making just croutons or bread crumbs, make delicious savory and sweet recipes using old bread. Never let good bread go to waste again!
Have leftover bread? Or bread that is going stale?
Before you throw it away, I have 15 delicious suggestions for you to turn that leftover bread into a delicious meal.
My family has always been big fans of bread. We love sitting down to French toast on weekend mornings or enjoying a freshly baked loaf with soup on chilly fall afternoons.
But there are always a few slices left over. If you are like me, you hate to see good bread go to waste. So, what do I do with that extra bread? Check out some of my favorite ways to use it.
💭 Tips for working with bread
- When choosing store-bought bread, look for packages tightly wrapped in plastic first. That wrapped bread should then placed inside a regular plastic bag with printed label and nutrition information. This helps the bread stay fresh longer.
- Look for bread that has less than a week of 'use by' date. Bread stays fresh for about a week before it starts losing its original texture.
- If you make your own bread (like my garlic Parmesan bread or olive Parmesan bread, wrap it in plastic or foil.
- Store the bread at room temperature, preferably in a bread box. It will better retain its texture and freshness when it is outside of the refrigerator.
- According to Good Housekeeping, it's best not to refrigerate bread since the starch molecules will recrystallize and cause the bread to go stale more quickly.
- Instead, slice and freeze fresh bread if you won't be able to use it within a week. Crusty bread is the perfect bread for freezing.
- Check out how to make stale bread fresh and more bread hacks by MyRecipes.com
🧊 How to freeze bread
- When freezing bread, it's best to freeze already sliced bread. If you baked it yourself, make sure you let it cool before slicing it. Store-bought sliced bread is the perfect thickness, so use that thickness as a gauge for when you are slicing your homemade loaf.
- Gather your bread slices and stack them back into a loaf shape.
- Keep the cut side of the bread unexposed. I like to use the two heel sides of the bread to cover the cut sides.
- Wrap your bread in foil paper or freezer-friendly paper. Wrap it tightly and then place it in a resealable plastic bag.
- Write the date on the resealable plastic bag. I like to write the date I baked the bread. If it's store-bought, then I write the date I froze it.
- Place it your freezer and use it within 6 months of the marked date.
🔥 How to defrost bread
- Don't thaw your frozen bread at room temperature or even in the refrigerator. It will lose texture and become soggy.
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- If your frozen bread is sliced, you can just remove the number of slices you need, the re-wrap the remaining portion and place it back in the freezer.
- Place the bread into the oven. I like to place sliced bread on a baking sheet in a single layer (cover the baking sheet with the aluminum foil). Whole bread can be wrapped in foil and placed directly in the oven rack.
- Sliced bread can be thawed in just 5-10 minutes in the 325° oven. A whole loaf will be thawed in about 20-30 minutes in the oven. The time depends on the amount of bread being thawed.
- If you prefer the microwave, zap the frozen slices in the microwave on high for about 20 seconds.
- Once it has been thawed, use it in sandwiches, puddings, croutons, or simply spread some butter on it and devour!
🌿 Savory leftover bread recipes
Who doesn't love bread pudding? Or how about a sweet French toast bake casserole? My instinct has always been to use leftover bread in a sweet recipe.
However, these recipes show that you can use leftover bread to make a hearty, savory recipe that can be part of your family dinner!
Quick parmesan garlic bread
Garlic bread is a staple in our home. Every time we make baked ziti or a spaghetti dinner, my family wants garlic bread with it.
Lucky for me, I can make the best garlic bread at home using leftover bread or even day old bread.
And it only takes about 15 minutes! I prefer to make my own because I can control the amount of butter and garlic in it. My garlic bread always has extra garlic in it. (YUM!)
Take a bite out of this homemade garlic bread and you will never buy store bought version again!
Bacon breakfast casserole
Everyone in my family is a bacon fanatic! We love bacon on everything from eggplant to ice cream cake!
I like to make this bacon breakfast casserole on weekends and holidays. It's perfect for a lazy Saturday morning.
Stale bread works so well in this casserole. When cooked in the oven, the bread comes to life and makes a hearty breakfast meal.
Savoury french toast
I did a double take when I saw this recipe. We are huge fans of breakfast French toast in our home. But I have never had a savory version.
(or a savoury version either) 🙂
This amazingly creative French toast recipe is from across the pond (from where I am, anyway!). Michelle is the brains behind Greedy Gourmet and lives in the UK. She strives to make good food from all around the world.
Did you know that she put mushrooms in her French toast recipe? You know I have to try this French toast recipe for my family.
Indian style bread upma
Spicy bread salad for breakfast in the morning? Sign me up!
Many people in India start their day by eating this amazing bread upma. It's made with leftover bread, onions and tomatoes. Aromatic spices and herbs are used to flavor it. What an amazing way to start the day!
Dassana of Dassana's Veg Recipes walks you through every step of making this upma. She includes images of every step. So helpful!
Simple bread salad
Stale bread, olives, tomatoes and capers! This bread salad is now my favorite side dish to serve.
This bread salad is vegan and inspired by Greek cuisine. It's a light, yet very filling dinner recipe.
Rini of Healing Tomato doesn't worry about French bread going to waste ever again. Every time she has leftover bread, she turns it into this salad.
So, the next time I make my Mediterranean Chicken recipe, I am serving this salad on the side. I can't wait to see my family's reaction to it.
Kreacher's French onion soup
French soup is topped with bread, and leftover bread is the right bread for that job!
I love eating French onion soup on the coldest day in the winter. There is something soul warming about that onion, bread and cheese combination
Stephanie of Son Shine Kitchen found inspiration for this recipe from the best place. It's from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Kreacher makes a feast for the trio.
So, make this soup and enjoy it while watching Harry Potter. It will be a very immersive experience.
(Interested in some other soups? They are great with bread! Try my butternut squash soup or my zucchini soup!)
🍬 Sweet leftover bread recipes
Turn all that leftover bread into delicious dessert recipes. These no-fail sweet bread recipes are the best way to use your leftover bread.
The dessert recipes are good for breakfast, brunch, and even holiday dessert. Don't be surprised if these recipes make you want to have bread leftover everyday!
Banana cinnamon French toast
This French toast recipe makes use of leftover bread and bananas that are ripe. Both leftover bread and overripe bananas are trashed often.
It makes me feel bad to see that, so, I came up with a delicious French toast recipe. The ripe bananas add a great taste and texture to the French toast.
(If you don't want to make French toast in the oven, why not let your slow cooker make it instead? Check out my Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple French Toast!)
Kahlua and cream french toast
This is a boozy French toast made for all adults who are big kids on the inside.
As a kid, I loved French toast more than any other breakfast recipe. While I will never turn down a good breakfast of French toast, it seemed like it was time to graduate to a more elegant version.
Kahlua and cream are added to the batter of this French toast, which elevates it to something you can easily serve at a fancy weekend brunch!
This is my husband's favorite breakfast and one of my most requested recipes by our brunch guests.
Eggnog bread pudding
When the holidays come around, you are bound to have more leftover bread than you can handle, right?
So, you put all that leftover bread into a holiday favorite!
This Eggnog Bread Pudding is Stacie of Simply Stacie's favorite way to whip up a quick dessert during the holiday season.
It only takes 10 minutes to bring the ingredients together. That makes it my kind of recipe!
Apple pie pudding
This recipe combines two of my favorite recipes. It's a mix of apple pie and bread pudding.
How can you say no to that, right?!
Lyuba of Will Cook For Smiles knows how to get my taste buds to sing! She makes this delicious apple pie pudding with a topping of ice cream!
(Apple pie lovers: Have you tried making Apple Pie in the Slow Cooker? Or in a coffee mug?)
Traditional bread sauce
I am always fascinated to see what people around the world eat around the holidays.
This classic traditional bread sauce is normally eaten on Christmas day in the UK. It's a very simple recipe made with very easy ingredients that you have in your pantry.
Diana of Little Sunny Kitchen shows us how to make this classic holiday dish.
🥖 Recipes using bread crumbs
When it comes to coating meat or veggies, I trust bread crumbs. Bread crumbs add a crunch to green beans, beef, chicken, and even calamari!
So, take your rock-hard bread and turn it into bread crumbs.
Baked chicken fried steak
Instead of frying steak, I coat the steak with bread crumbs and bake it in the oven. Then, I top with my homemade gravy. Makes for a delicious family dinner.
Baked breaded lemon chicken
When lemon flavors are added to bread crumbs and then used to coat the chicken, magical things happen! This breaded lemon chicken is better than any fried chicken recipe!
Crispy baked green bean fries
Turn green beans into 'fries' and watch your family gobble them up. The green beans are coated with bread crumbs and then baked in the oven! You won't feel guilty serving these to your kids.
Oven baked calamari
These calamari are better than the fried version! The seafood taste of the calamari easily comes through in this recipe. The bread crumbs add a really great crunch!
❓ Questions about leftover bread
How do you make bread crumbs? Why does bread go stale?
Below, I answer some of the most common questions I get. If you have more questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.
How to make croutons and breadcrumbs
A very common use for stale bread is to turn it into croutons to be used in salads and soups, or breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs add a natural crunchiness to any recipe.
Need to know how to make croutons and breadcrumbs? These talented bloggers show you creative ways to make croutons at home.
Easy pumpernickel croutons
Whenever I make my Mom's sauerkraut sandwich, I never know what to do with my leftover pumpernickel bread.
I am so glad I found a croutons recipe made with this delicious bread!
Ellen of Confessions of an Overworked Mom has a super easy way of turning it into croutons. I think they will be perfect soup toppings!
Easy panko bread crumbs
Why buy bread crumbs from the store when you can easily make them at home, right?
Making bread crumbs at home is super easy. Take that hardened bread and turn it into panko bread crumbs!
Check out how this aromatic bread crumbs recipe by Healing Tomato.
What breads will go stale faster?
Baguettes, because of their narrow shape and lack of fats, will go stale quickly. Typically, a baguette will go stale in 2 days or less.
On the other hand, challah and brioche bread will take a long time to go stale. Freshly baked challah bread takes about 5 days to go stale.
Store bought breads have preservatives baked into the bread to make them last longer. Also, the amount of fats, proteins and sugars used in the bread contribute to its shelf life. More of these ingredients means that your bread will last longer.
Why does bread go stale?
Is it because the bread has lost its moisture?
On a molecular level, moisture leaves the starch molecules that make up the bread. Where does it go? It actually moves to the drier part of the bread, the crust. Without the moisture, the starch molecules in the inner part of the bread recrystalize, which makes the bread harden.
So, I hope you liked this quick chemistry lesson. Next time you come across some stale bread, explain that to whoever is with you and impress them with your knowledge!
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